Manchester MC Fraud Trial | Attorney threatens to walk from messy case
The issue of discrepancies with documents continues to dog the multimillion-dollar Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial, with one attorney indicating yesterday that he could withdraw from the case if the messy affairs persist.
Norman Godfrey, who represents the former deputy superintendent of roads and works at the then Manchester Parish Council, Sanja Elliott; his wife, TashaGaye Goulbourne-Elliott; and co-accused Dwayne Sibbles, lamented yesterday that documents must not continue to be served on them in the middle of the trial.
Godfrey said the documents were “thrown” in front of the defence and served late with an announcement by the prosecution that they were otherwise occupied, a statement that seemingly suggested the reason for late submissions.
“I’ve been around for quite a while, and there was a time when civility was the order of the day in and out of court. It pains me to [observe] the regularity with which incivility is displayed not only to counsel, but also to the Bench,” the attorney said.
Godfrey then appeared to suggest that the discrepancies being experienced could be deliberate.
“I don’t know who is guiding Crown counsel from the Office of the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) ... . Persons being guided are skilfully disguising it,” he said.
He then indicated that he may be forced to discontinue his participation in the trial if the procedures of document submission, among other things, do not change.
Three police officers attached to the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency were recalled to the witness stand yesterday for further questioning and cross-examination.
During the process, further details of the extent of the 2016 search done at the home of Sanja Elliott were revealed.
It was said that original documents, including motor vehicle titles, were found in Elliott’s office in a safe, while what appeared to be copies of other documents were found in the kitchen.
One officer said the operation was done in parts as someone from the home had to witness the search at all times.
It was revealed that Elliott’s wife was allowed to leave the premises twice – to take her child to school and then later to get something for the child to eat.
In addition to the kitchen, home office and vehicles on the premises being searched, the team also combed through the room occupied by co-accused Sibbles.
The prosecution sought to tender documents they said contained receipts speaking to lifestyle and conduct. However, presiding judge Ann-Marie Grainger suggested that some things not be revisited.
With only 14 witnesses called and roughly 30 remaining, the matter could continue into the coming months.
Former bank employee Radcliffe McLean; temporary works overseer Kendale Roberts; former secretary manager and director of finance, David Harris; and mother and father of Elliott, Edwardo and Myrtle, complete the list of the accused. All eight have pleaded not guilty.